Had we met, she sure would’ve been proud of me for predicting an exchange rate of 5 to 1 and climbing between the noble RTGS dollar and the US.
With retailers now charging like wounded buffalo, shopping in Zimbabwe hurts more than riding a bike to Kilimanjaro. I saw fresh eggs for sale yesterday at two for a dollar. Jenny tells me you could buy the point of lay chicken that laid the egg for just ten dollars 6 months ago.
Shortages are again in plentiful supply. Currently we can’t buy local beers, only imported brands because there isn’t enough forex to import inputs for the local brew. Go figure.
Small wonder President Ed is nervous. Thankfully according to banner headlines last week he knows exactly how to deal with the shortages. Which gives me great hope … for my granddaughter. Aged just 5, Cailyn told me they should just buy more stuff of whatever is short. “If there’s no petrol Eric, then they should just buy more and then it won’t be short.”
And now even the RTGS is in short supply. And all along I thought RTGS dollars were just fictitious numbers made up on a computer screen somewhere, not worth the paper they’re not printed. But apparently the fact that they are short is a good thing because it means the government aren’t just not printing them, if you get my drift. It’s all as clear as mud.
Gordon Kent, a Zim friend now living in Aussie sent me an extra pair of balls. He said I’ll need extra to ride to Mt Kilimanjaro. They now have pride of place on my bike. Someone who doesn’t need any extra in that department is grandson Colton. During an undergarment refresh following a bowel movement, Cailyn asked “What are those big things under his willy?” She only said big because huge isn’t in her vocabulary yet. If Coulton grows into them, he’ll be 7 ft 14 inches tall.
With just 17 days to go to the off, it’s all happening. Graeme Fleming organized a lecture and a slide show for us on the actual ascent of Mt Kilimanjaro. Graeme climbed it 4 years ago but says it warrants a double tick on his bucket list. I’m not sure why because from what I could see, mostly he looked miserable, cold and tired in the photos – as in minus 15 degrees cold. We met Kevin Shadwell and Andrew Lorimer, nutcase golfers who’ve signed up to walk up the mountain for the Old Legs cause. Graeme told us we can now add altitude sickness to our long list of things to worry about. Because very fit people are often more prone to it, Martina Navratilova famously had to be rescued off the mountain and came down on oxygen and a stretcher, I’ve decided to ease off on my training regime.
Very helpfully, Dave told us 10 people a year die on Mt Kilimanjaro. Oh what fun we’re going to have.
Speaking of fun, I’m going to renew my assault on the Mozambique Embassy this week in search of my elusive visa. There is a rumor out there that Zambia was colonized mostly to give people a way around Mozambique but for the record and in case someone from the Moz Embassy reads this, let it be known I don’t believe it. This time round I’ll be armed with a letter of support written by the Mozambique Ambassador asking people in Mozambique to give us every assistance on our Tour.
Jenny and I had our flu jabs which give you the flu so you don’t get the flu. I gave Jenny her jab and she gave me mine. I’m obviously better at giving injections than Jenny because I screamed and she didn’t.
I think the riders will have to watch their weight on Tour. Jenny’s kitchen and Linda’s are flat out busy, cooking possibly delicious meals and snacks including the best ever biltong. I say possibly because I haven’t been allowed to taste any. Jenny sure is cruel that way.
Old Legs riders from all around the world start arriving from next week. They’re excited like school kids the week before summer holidays. Excited and a bit scared. This from Carol Joy on the group chat last night “Just scared myself: I asked my bike-navi app for a route from Rungwe (day 14) to Kipengere (day 16) – as best I could find these locations. The suggested route includes a climb of 1500hm within SEVEN km!! 😱 Gradients of 48%. I don’t think I can walk that 😱😱🙈🧘♂”
A big shout out to KFC for hosting our Big Send Off on June the 1st, to make sure we actually leave town. Anyone out there with a bike, please be cordially invited to join us. Big thanks to Oscar Bekker and the Herd for putting the ride together, ditto Round Table 23 for their help on the day.
Also big thanks to all at Mukuru for continuing to show us what corporate responsibility is all about. Thank you also to Robs and Graeme Storrer in Prague for their generous donation, ditto Sput Verwiel in Kenya. Thank you, thank you, thank you. If you want to follow their lead, go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oldlegstour. In Zimbabwe, transfer to Bulawayo Help Network via their CABS Platinum Account number 1124733450 or their Ecocash merchant number 139149. Monies donated help pensioners country wide.
In closing this week’s Swahili 101-
Nini kubwa mipira baiskeli yako ina!! – What big balls your bicycle has.
Si kilio. Nitakuja kutoa a sindano!! – Don’t cry. I’ll give you an injection.
Until next week, enjoy and pedal if you can.
Eric Chicken Legs de Jong